13 Replies Latest reply: Jun 3, 2012 5:24 AM by Sameer G RSS

    What's the procedure for backing up e-books in ADE?

    Sameer G Community Member



      Well, I have checked the FAQ section about Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) and found no answer to this question. Also, there is no documentation available for ADE. (You need to add this in Adobe.) Thankfully there is this forum available.


      I am using Windows Vista Home Premium at the moment. Now, say I want to upgrade to Windows 7. And I want to do a custom, or "clean" install which results in formatting the entire system disk drive. I have 10 purchased books and 5 borrowed books in my library in ADE. How do I save these? If I just copy them over to an external disk drive, can I just copy them back to the system disk after installing Windows 7 and continue to read them? Or will I get an error saying that I don't have the rights, or that they are registered to different user?...


      The FAQ can be found here:



      I already have an Adobe ID and I have typed it in the first time I installed ADE, so I guess my computer is considered "authorized" now. What does this mean anyway? Is there some special license file that is downloaded to my computer or what?... In that case I assume I would need to backup this file for later use when restoring e-books and installing ADE. Or is this false?

        • 1. Re: What's the procedure for backing up e-books in ADE?
          Sameer G Community Member

          No answers yet?


          When borrowing e-books from libraries I always get new files titled URLLink.acsm, URLLink (1).acsm, URLLink (2).acsm, etc. When I double-click on them Adobe Digital Editions opens up and downloads the actual e-book as a PDF file. But what do you do with the URLLink.acsm file? Is it safe to delete it? Is it required if you for example want to download the same book but on a different computer or another device? This type of book can be downloaded on up to five devices, right?

          • 2. Re: What's the procedure for backing up e-books in ADE?
            Frustrated in AZ Community Member

            Hi Sameer


            .ascm files contain information ADE uses to find the ebook, plus

            information from the publisher/distributor about the ebook's digital rights

            management.  Once the ebook has been downloaded, ADE should be deleting the

            .ascm file.  If you have any 'left over', then it's possible that the ebook

            was not downloaded.  Use your computer's utility program to find the file

            and then open it with ADE and see if that's the case.  If it's already

            there, ADE will tell you.



            • 3. Re: What's the procedure for backing up e-books in ADE?
              Sameer G Community Member

              Hi there!


              I have deleted the ASCM files. No, Adobe Digital Editions does not delete the ASCM file automatically after it has downloaded the e-book document (PDF, EPUB, etc). Should it be doing that? I just borrowed a e-book from a public library to try this out and I can confirm that it does not do that.


              No, Adobe Digital Editions does not care if the book is already downloaded and in the library. By double-clicking on the URLLink.acsm file the first time Adobe Digital Editions downloads the PDF document and adds it to its digital library. Let's say the file name of the book is Book_of_the_year.pdf. If I double click on the same URLLink.acsm file again Adobe Digital Edition starts up and it adds the same book to its library again. In addition to that, it creates a second copy of the book PDF file named Book_of_the_year_0001.pdf. It does this over and over again.


              If you have clicked on the URLLink.acsm file 5 times then you will have 5 additional PDF files for the same book, and 5 additional entries in the Adobe Digital Editions library.


              You would have:









              If one file is 5 MB in size, then 6 of them is 30 MB. Complete waste of space! Not to mention the clutter it creates in the Adobe Digital Editions library. Because all you really need is just one entry for one book.


              I would suggest everyone to delete their URLLink.acsm files after downloading the book in Adobe Digital Editions. Don't expect Adobe Digital Editions to do it for you.


              While the URLLink.acsm file gives you a quick way of downloading the same book, perhaps on a second computer, i.e. one for the laptop and one for the desktop, you can still do that by going to the publisher or library website or wherever you got it from and downloading the URLLink.acsm file again.


              I have never been a fan of software applications that leave residue files like this after performing a certain task, especially when they leave it in the user space like the Documents folder. And I really don't like the way Adobe Digital Edition leaves the PDF file after deleting the book item in its library. It should at least prompt the user whether or not to delete the associated PDF file as well. But what can you really do about it as the end-user?... not much really, just learn to live with it or leave it, or understand the way it works and make it fit the way you like it.

              • 4. Re: What's the procedure for backing up e-books in ADE?
                Frustrated in AZ Community Member

                Sameer, the commentary in your post tells me that your copy of ADE is not

                registered or  something is messed up with your installation.  Here's why I

                think so:


                .ascm files are deleted automatically by ADE when the transfer is

                complete.  If they exist on your computer, then I believe your copy of ADE

                is not registered with Adobe or it is not registered correctly.


                ADE will check to see whether an ebook has been downloaded previously and

                issue a warning message to you.



                Apologies, but let me go over the proper procedure and what should happen.


                First, you register with Adobe and obtain an Adobe ID and password.  That

                information will be embedded into Digital Editions when you download it,

                and kept also on Adobe's computer.  This information is checked when you

                open Digital Editions.


                Next, when you go to a website to download an ebook (whether it be a

                publisher, distributor or library), the process will interrogate your copy

                of Digital Editions to determine whether it's registered.  If it is, then

                the next steps will be for the website to create a 'tag file' ( .ascm) that

                tells Digital Editions where to find the ebook.  The website then will

                initiate Digital Editions on your computer, and give Digital Editions the

                'tag file' data: then the website will close.  Digital Editions will then

                go find the ebook, and when it has done so, it will ask you whether you

                want to OPEN or SAVE the ebook.  You reply, and Digital Editions takes it

                from there.  When it's done, Digital Editions will delete the .ascm file.


                Obviously, you're having 'problems'....



                • 5. Re: What's the procedure for backing up e-books in ADE?

                  Hi, I live in AZ, too.


                  I have downloaded many ebooks with the URLLink.acsm file and was told that I had to trash it myself, otherwise the next book with the same type of file will ask if I want to replace it.   (I used to think that meant something else, but it just replaces it with the new book file.)    So, it seems to depend on what you want to do.   BUT, ADE does not delete it for you.   (That would be too nice of them . . .) 


                  I use a Mac.  From the website where I originally get the ebook, I right-click on the "download" button, and click on "save link as".   I then click on "save" when the box opens - only option.   It then goes to my desktop.  I  click "open" - there is no save - and it just goes right into ADE.  Then I delete it.  


                  Until yesterday, I have always talked to someone on the phone who helped me a lot.  Between the store where I bought the books and ADE I was able to get it all right.   Barnes and Noble helped some - I have a Nook Simple Touch.


                  Now I am having all kinds of problems, and don't have that nice man to help me anymore!   My nearly 300 ebooks on ADE goes "missing" often and I have to put them back on.  I was okay for a while, but yesterday, all of a sudden, I watched as "Missing" went down the list.  No matter what I do, they keep doing that.  They may be on there for a while, but then, boom! they're gone.


                  What's more, I can't transfer over 60 books to my Nook.  It says it's not allowed.  I get different boxes and wording as time goes on.  I have spent days and days trying to fix this.  And I just bought two Nooks for my mom and daughter and can't put any books on them.


                  Thanks for any help!


                  • 6. Re: What's the procedure for backing up e-books in ADE?
                    justme088 Community Member



                    I agree with you.  This happens to me, too.  The website where I get most of my ebooks said that's how to do it, and they sell a lot of books.  Like I said in my last post, you can either delete it right away, or at the end (the URLLink.acsm file).  You just have to answer the question, delete it or replace it.  Whatever is easiest.   I get all those duplicates if I download from the website again, so I've learned not to do that.  I've had so many books go missing on ADE that I finally figured out that they are still on my computer, just not on ADE.


                    Now that is the $64,000 question!  Where do they go, and why?


                    I love AZ, but I'm a frustrated ebook user!



                    • 7. Re: What's the procedure for backing up e-books in ADE?
                      Sameer G Community Member

                      Frustrated in AZ,

                      As you can see I am posting in Adobe forums. That means I do have an Adobe ID.


                      Although I'm not sure if I logged on to my account when I was prompted to do so by ADE when I first installed it. I would say yes, but I'm not absolutely sure.


                      By the way, how do you even log on to your account in ADE? There is no log in or log out option, is there?


                      You are talking about "registering" my "copy" of ADE. I'm not exactly sure what that means. Are you saying I have to go to Adobe website (www.adobe.com) and log on to my Adobe ID account, and THEN download and install ADE? And THEN get the e-book? Is that how you get it registered?


                      No I don't get the OPEN or SAVE prompt. All I do is click the Download button on the library website, and the browser asks me where to save the ASCM file. Then when I click the ASCM file ADE starts and downloads the book. So this is not how it works for you?


                      By the way, AZ is for Arizona, right?

                      • 8. Re: What's the procedure for backing up e-books in ADE?
                        Frustrated in AZ Community Member

                        Sameer and Wanda, you've both provided additional information that does

                        make a difference.


                        Rest assured that what I said about ADE and its interaction with .ascm

                        files is correct.  What is happening is probably at the source.  Sameer

                        said that he's downloading files from his library.  While Wanda hasn't said

                        that, I'm going to go out on a limb and 'assume' (a dangerous thing to do)

                        that the source she's using does the same thing as Sameer's library.

                        That's what it sounds like from reading the posts.


                        Libraries and many other download sites often use the Overdrive Media suite

                        of programs for their downloading.  That suite needs to be configured to

                        operate with other software, and that's not required by the programs.  The

                        simplest configuration does NOT look at your computer to determine whether

                        you have ADE installed or not.  That means the technical support function

                        at the source can just slam in the software and walk away.  In those

                        instances, Overdrive just asks you where to put the download, downloads the

                        .ascm file, and then closes.  Sounds to me like this is happening to both

                        of you.


                        Sameer, I was telling you indeed that you should have registered with Adobe

                        and obtained an Adobe ID BEFORE you downloaded Digital Editions, so that

                        your copy of DE would have the appropriate information embedded in it, and

                        the Adobe server would have information about your copy filed on it.  And,

                        because it's possible to bypass this process, ADE could be installed

                        without registration.  And there are 'issues' at times if the ADE copy is

                        not registered.  For example, your download site may be looking for ADE

                        during the download process, but does not find a 'registered' copy, and

                        thus assumes that you don't have ADE, downloads the .ascm file and closes.


                        Both of you may benefit from contacting the technical support function of

                        your download sites and discussing with them how their sites are supposed

                        to interact with Digital Editions.  If it's a library, then their tech

                        support can configure Overdrive to interact directly with ADE - IF they

                        want to do that.  A source like B&N already has configurations that support

                        ADE - I've downloaded many ebooks from them and it operated seamlessly, as

                        I described.  So, Wanda, if you're having these issues with B&N, I'm

                        thinking that it might have to do with their interface and how it works

                        with a Mac.


                        Wada, you mention 'disappearing' ebooks.  And you mention not being able to

                        copy ebooks to your Nook.  Mac software upgrades or security settings may

                        be responsible in part.  B&N also upgraded their Nook software - and the

                        Nook Simple is not on the list of supported devices.  You can check THIS

                        LINK <http://blogs.adobe.com/digitalpublishing/supported-devices> to see

                        whether any of the other ereaders you mention are on the list.  If the

                        ebooks are disappearing only on the Mac, I can't help you beyond this

                        point, because I'm really a PC guy.   Takes all kinds.....


                        The copy problem may be something else.  Publishers, distributors,

                        libraries and authors have the ability to set up 'digital rights' for their

                        ebooks.  Those rights - labelled DRM for short - can prevent you from

                        copying and printing their works.  ADE, just as the other ebook management

                        systems, has to use these rights to manage the ebook.  If you're getting

                        messages from ADE telling you 'no right to copy here' or something like

                        that, then it's the digital rights that won't let you do it.  There's

                        nothing wrong with ADE.  You can try going back to your source and

                        discussing this with them.


                        There's more that we can discuss, but this is a pretty lengthly post, so

                        let's cut off here and resume if necessary.


                        All that said, yes 'AZ' is the abbreviation for Arizona.



                        • 9. Re: What's the procedure for backing up e-books in ADE?
                          justme088 Community Member

                          I appreciate your efforts.  I will call on Monday and see what the seller

                          says.  I did look up my Nook Simple Touch, and even tho' it's name is

                          different, it's there (Nook, Nook Touch).  Thanks again!


                          Are you frustrated with AZ or something else?


                          • 10. Re: What's the procedure for backing up e-books in ADE?
                            Frustrated in AZ Community Member

                            I'm frustrated with ADE - especially the error messages.....  I used to

                            write programs and my sensibilities are jarred every time I see a

                            'meaningless' message....



                            • 11. Re: What's the procedure for backing up e-books in ADE?
                              justme088 Community Member

                              Oh, I so understand!  Well, I hope the squeaky wheel gets the grease!  I'll

                              let you know what I find out.  W.

                              • 12. Re: What's the procedure for backing up e-books in ADE?
                                Sameer G Community Member

                                I'm not from the states but I have several relatives living in Arizona. So I should really know what AZ stands for.


                                Thank you very much for this explanation! I will try uninstalling ADE and then logging on to my Adobe ID at www.adobe.com and then download and install ADE again. I'll let you know about my results.


                                There is definitely room for improvement in both the Adobe Digital Editions software and the authorization and e-book distribution mechanisms, taking into account the complexity of DRM and all this sort of thing.


                                Ideally, the best thing would be to have some kind of common standard that the software copmpanies like Adobe can rely on and base their software on. Instead, all these different software companies that are pioneers in this field are pushing forward their own different kinds of solutions, and they are all proprietary and controlled by the company.


                                There have been some efforts done in this direction, like the EPUB file format by the International Digital Publishing Forum. But only a file format is just not enough, but it's a good start. Because, in the end... if we are gonna be relying on electronic publications it needs to be simple to get the book, open it, and read it. Not to mention that you need the ability to move the book around, from one device to another, and carry it with you. Till we have a good and working solution that everyone can use it's back to basics - it's back to good old fashioned paper books!

                                • 13. Re: What's the procedure for backing up e-books in ADE?
                                  Sameer G Community Member

                                  Well, first of all, I am using Firefox 3.6.28 on Vista 64-bit SP2. The ADE version is


                                  In ADE, when I click the Library menu and then Authorize Computer, I get a message saying "this computer has been authorized to" followed by my e-mail.


                                  So ADE was already activated and authorized on the current computer.


                                  But I decided to install it again.


                                  1. I uninstalled ADE.

                                  2. Reboot!

                                  3. www.adobe.com

                                  4. Logged on with Adobe ID.

                                  5. Installed ADE from "http://www.adobe.com/products/digitaleditions/#fp".

                                  6. ADE was downlaoded and installed with all the components.

                                  ADE started automatically after install. All the previously downloaded books were present in the ADE library.


                                  Now, the source I used for the e-books was E-lib. It's one of major distributors of e-books in Sweden, and the major one used for borrowing e-books in Swedish libraries.


                                  Link: http://www.elib.se/


                                  After authentication and chosing the book, the download link looks like this:


                                  (do not click it, it's not valid)




                                  It's followed by a 104 character long string.


                                  I decided to borrow a new book. The borrow link looks like this:




                                  It's followed by the ISBN number of the book and then &format=## which specifies the format (if the book is available in more than one format).


                                  After clicking on the download link Firefox asks what I want to do with the file.


                                  "Opening URLLink.ascm


                                  You have chosen to open




                                  which is: Adobe Content Server Message

                                  from: http://acs.elib.se


                                  What should Firefox do with this file?"

                                  I chose to open with Adobe Digital Editions from the list of programs.


                                  The file was downloaded, ADE started, it downloaded the book and placed it in its library.


                                  But if I right click the URLLink.ascm item from the list in the Downlods (Ctrl+J) window in Firefox, and then pick "Open Containing Folder", it takes me to following directory:




                                  So from this I can conclude that...


                                  1. The ASCM file type is properly associated with Adobe Digital Editions on the computer. Although for some reason this file type has no icon of its own, like one of those files that don't have a program association.


                                  2. The file is apparently just downloaded to the Temp folder if I chose to open it right from the browser window, and it is not deleted by Adobe Digital Editions afterwards.


                                  After viewing the Temp folder and then clicking the ADE program button on the task bar to view the book again ADE crashed for some reason. It was alright just seconds ago, and it showed me the front page of the book right after downloading it.


                                  So that's that...


                                  Perhaps ADE was trying to delete the above mentioned file but failed to do so because I was viewing it in Windows Explorer? Although I was only viewing its folder, the Temp folder. I was not actually opening the file. So I wouldn't expect it to be related to "file already in use by other program" kind of thing (conflict).




                                  I did repeat the steps again and borrowed and downloaded a second e-book in the same file format (PDF) from the same source. However, this time it all worked perfectly. ADE did not crash this time. Although it didn't delete the ASCM file this time either.


                                  So there you have it...


                                  I don't think I can test this any more thoroughly. But I will check to see what happens if I download from a different source. I will try buying an e-book from some e-book store. I might give you feedback on that too.


                                  So the simple solution here appears to be to simply chose to open the file in your browser when it asks you what you want to do with it. Or you may as well save it like I do, to your desktop for example. This gives you an easier way of deleting the file manually after you have downloaded the book in ADE (by double clicking on it). It's easier than going to the AppData\Local\Temp folder.


                                  At some later point I might do a binary comparison of the ADE installer downloaded without logging in to Adobe website with Adobe ID, and the one downloaded without logging in. I will use a comparison tool, not just look at the file sizes. I would not expect it to be any different.


                                  The key here appears to be the activation of ADE and authentication of the device. And you can do this the first time you install it on the computer. ADE will ask you the first time you start it if you would like to authenticate your computer or not. And if you chose to do so you will have to give it your Adobe ID and password. In other words, you will not have to go to the Adobe website and log in, and then download and install ADE to get your device authenticated. You can do that right in the ADE program.


                                  If you have not done the authentication the first time you installed ADE, you can simply click the "Library" menu in the top left corner next to the view modes buttons, and then click "Authenticate Comptuer" and follow the on-screen instructions.


                                  I will get back to you after purchasing some e-book from a different source or store.